On a cold and rainy day just outside Prince George, BC, the riders and teams of the 2018 Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MXTour Series gathered for Round 3. With the first two rounds of this new series taking place on very dry tracks, Round 3 and its sloppy conditions would certainly present a new set of challenges to everyone. Also, not only was the Blackwater MX Track muddy to start off the day, but a few of the circuit’s challenging features would also keep the riders on their toes.
Last year, the Prince George National provided fans with some of the most exciting racing of the year. The final corner pass that Christophe Pourcel made on Matt Goerke to win Moto 2 will go down as perhaps the greatest pass in Canadian motocross history. For 2018, the adverse conditions once again didn’t stop the racing from being exciting. As I mentioned above, with its steep elevation changes and challenging layout, the Blackwater MX Track is a throwback circuit that almost every rider enjoys racing. To be successful on this track a rider must charge like a mad man on the downhill, remain smooth and calm on the uphill, and of course nail all of the corners on their two-plus minute lap.
Coming into Round 3, Colton Facciotti had won three of the first four 450 motos, while Jess Pettis had done the same in the 250 Pro/Am class. These two riders had just about everything go their way, and we’re sure they expected the same in Prince George. However, as we’ve witnessed so many times over the years in outdoor motocross, things can change very quickly. For Facciotti and Pettis, Round 3 ended up being one that we’re sure they’d like to forget as neither cracked the Top 5. While these two struggled on the Blackwater track, Kaven Benoit and Dylan Wright stepped up and took center stage in the 450 class and the 250 Pro/Am class. It was Benoit’s first win in two years, and Wright’s first win since last season. With the proverbial monkey off of their backs, now it will be interesting to see if they can taste victory again in the coming weeks.
The MXTour moves east to Manitoba for Round 4, before beginning the final five eastern rounds of the 2018 series. As it stands currently, Facciotti still carries the red plate in the 450 class, while Shawn Maffenbeier will dawn the red plate in the 250 class for the first time this summer. For this week’s Yamaha Motor Canada Behind the Lens, we take a look back at some incredible James Lissimore photos from Round 3 in Prince George.